Posts Tagged With: intelligence

Lists in the face

I remember being surprised at being invited to that executive’s retirement party given we’d hardly interacted.  I was around 27 and, looking back, a bit naive.

The night of the party, one of the (ancient) executive’s pals, in his toast to the retiree, joked about inviting “pretty girls like __(me)__ so we all have something nice to look at.” Their wives looked horrified and sad, most men chuckled, and I can still feel the rage at being reduced to “something.”

I know and have loved many wonderful men – decent, kind and gentle men.  I’m fortunate I can easily rattle off a long list including Grandfathers,  Great Uncles, Dad and his brothers, my husband and our sons. But I also have known – and had to work with – creeps.  And, in my experience, the creeps spoil the well for the good men.

Now, as a Grandmother, my Spidey senses are on FIRE whenever I’m out with our grandkids – both grandSON and grandDAUGHTER — I watch them like a hawk even though they aren’t “babies” any more.    I’m hyper-aware of everyone around us; if one asks to go off to another aisle to “see just one thing” we all go; it’s not up for discussion.

I’ve talked with the grands about good people and bad people, about trusting their instincts, and if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell any of us, and that they will never be in trouble for doing so.  I worry about Social Media and creepy perverts who lurk in shadows everywhere.  But, as many of us know, creepy perverts were in our churches, schools, and communities long before Facebook or SnapChat ever existed.

I made a quick list of how experiences with creepy men has impacted how I live; the list wrote itself in minutes.

  • I stay alert and pay attention to surroundings; if someone feels “off” I get away from them.
  • I never walk, shop for groceries or stop for gas in the dark.
  • I prefer to exercise in the house vs. in the neighborhood.
  • I wear a cross body purse, always and my cell phone remains charged and accessible, even at home.
  • I check the back seat of any vehicle before getting in, anywhere and in every light.
  • I rarely venture away from the hotel when traveling for business ~ Company (male) colleagues like to walk to restaurants for group events (because they never have to think about lists like this!). I prefer to take a taxi but will walk in a larger (mixed) group.
  • I never sleep on flights.
  • All windows and doors are locked  ~ if I find myself alone at the office (very off-putting) I take the cell phone with me to the copier or the restroom.
  • On business trips /outings I stick to water or (sometimes) order a cocktail I don’t like and sip it; whatever I have goes with me to the ladies’ room.
  • It’s Hubby’s deep voice on the answering machine.
  • I’m not thin anymore;  extra weight has lessened the burden of unwanted attention.
  • I never use parking garages,  valet where possible and expense it, and offer no explanations or apologies.
  • I don’t get on elevators with men, not even one.
  • I limit fluids during road trips which limits stops, and never use highway rest areas; Fast food restaurants only.
  • At company functions I employ the Irish Good-bye – excuse myself and don’t come back.

Your turn:

  • Can you relate to this post?
  • How have your experiences impacted the way you navigate your day-to-day life?
    • Any tips or thoughts to add?


“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” — Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”



Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, News, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Useful Information, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

When you say nothing at all

A skill I’ve learned from hubbs has been put in play of late.

It’s powerful and one that takes practice, because it goes against my learned methods of communciating.

 But every time I have to pull it out of my bag of tricks, I am reminded again of its power.

What is it?

It’s the art of not engaging.


When someone is spinning out of control and tries to drag you into their negative vortex … step quietly to the side, and let their momentum take them elsewhere.

When a harsh words beg for commentary … refrain.

Let the ugliness hang in the air; let the person who dealt them watch their poison fall to the ground.  They’re counting on sucking you in.  Don’t. Go. There.

Not engaging.  Powerful stuff.

Sometimes … the most influential words are those left unspoken.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Be yourself

Sometimes we can feel that we are just a number, just a face in the crowd.  It’s at those moments that we need to remember how less interesting the crowd would be without us in it.  Everyone brings something to the table.  Below are a few quotes that help me remember this very lesson:

Judy Garland image from

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
Judy Garland

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Dr. Seuss

This above all: to thine own self be true.
William Shakespeare

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
Raymond Hull

The best you can be at any given moment is yourself.
Elizabeth Alraune

About all you can do in life is be who you are.
Rita Mae Brown

What you are will show in what you do.
Thomas A. Edison

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.
Kobi Yamada

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you have a quote that inspires you to be your very best?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Fashion, Friendship, Gratitude, Humor, Joy, Life, Opinion, Quotes, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Acquiring some Horse Sense

This is not my Riley: this is a Welsh pony photo from

Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has it all figured out – Michael Burke

I recently found myself in a situation that made me think of my horse, Riley.  Riley was an Arabian-Welsh cross that my Dad bought  for me when I was 9. I’d been riding for several years by then but had never had my own horse.  I rode JJ and Queenie, my cousin’s horses, as often as I could, and our draft horses Tony and Bruce,  but that wasn’t the same as having my own.  When you’re a full-time cowgirl you need a full-time horse! So when Dad asked me if I wanted to go with him to deliver a load of hay, I answered, “sure,” figuring that, at the very least I’d score a pop and some candy. That’s what you get when you take a trip with the Candy Man.

Slipping on my jean jacket and hopping into the cab of the truck, I never even noticed the horse trailer behind us.  Flipping through the AM stations, we shared peppermints and listened to the farm reports.    Arriving at a farm I didn’t recognize, I helped Dad as he offloaded the bales.  I noticed an older man, the farm owner, approach the truck.   I half-listened as they talked about grain costs and hay availability but, truth be told, I wasn’t paying them much attention because it was around that time that I spotted a dark grey horse looking at me intently.  He, with the most beautiful and inquisitive face, stared at me from a cow-filled corral and with cow pies up to his knees.  I abandoned the hay and sloshed through the barnyard muck, my rubber boots making a squirsh squirsh sound as I rushed to meet him.  Slowly and deliberately, he approached the fence but maintained a 3 foot distance from the rails.  Hardly daunted, I scaled the fence and, perched on the top, and reached out my hand so as to pet him. He snorted, stamped a foot, and backed away.

From behind I heard an unfamiliar voice ask, “So I hear you’re in the market for a horse?”

“Huh?” I said, looking in confusion over to my Dad, who stood at the truck grinning.

“What do you think all this hay is for?” giggled Dad.

Still confused, I looked from man to man and realized what was really going on:  they were trading hay for a horse – MINE!

I could hardly stand the ride home and I barely heard Dad as he explained, “You do realize he’s at least 5 years old and not even halter broke yet. He doesn’t know anything. You will need to work with him every day and teach him. You know that, right?”

Did I?

I spent nearly every day with Riley, after school, all weekends and every summer that followed.

So I brushed him. I spoiled him. I told him all my secrets. He greeted me with a nicker , ears up and one step forward, every time.  I laughed at his antics as he stole treats and opened gates for other horses but he’d redeem himself by obediently gave rides to small children who visited.  When he misbehaved while we were out riding, and he often did, I’d have him back up in straight lines.  Doing so won us both ribbon at the local 4-H show because, unbeknown-st to me, backing through an L corner was part of the “Western Trail” class competition. That horse could back a perfectly straight line the entire length of the arena.

There were many things that he was not: he was not tall and he was hardly lanky, but he was as dignified as an Arabian desert racer and as smart, stubborn and dependable as a Welsh working horse can be. He was perfect for me.


He did more than listen: he provided therapy to a girl with a head full of dreams trying to find her place in the world.

He taught me more about trusting my instincts than any person ever has.

Once, on our way home from a horseback adventure with the cousins, he kept stopping every 20 feet or so.  Growing impatient, I urged him on. Finally, he stopped firmly, planted his feet, swung his head and bit me on the foot.  What?  He got my attention, and as I spun him around there, about 15 feet directly behind us, was the largest male coyote I’d ever seen.  Clearly he had sensed the danger behind us but could not see it clearly.   The coyote, no threat to us, locked eyes, looked down and loped away.   That day, I learned to listen to what he had to tell me:  I know better than you kid, and you might just want to pay attention.

What brings me to this tale?

A situation presented itself to me recently that just didn’t sit right with me. I tried to brush it off, to no avail. I finally spun around and stared it down for what it was. I recognized it, I dealt with it, and I moved on.

Thank you, Riley, for teaching me to trust what my gut’s telling me long before my head’s figured it out.

What have your animals taught you?

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Beauty, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Good-bye… Violet Eyed Vixen

image from

I am saddened to learn that screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor has passed away.  

Elizabeth, so beautiful that, even as a child actress, she didn’t just ignite the silver screen, she comandeered it. The violet eyed brunette with the kitten voice and multiple marriages is gone from us now.  

“I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married,” she once remarked. “I guess I’m very old-fashioned.”

To me, and many others, Elizabeth Taylor was the very essence of what is a movie star.

Beautiful. Fashionable. Interesting. Persued and desired.

The very essence of glamour and beauty.

Let us not forget that she was also a humanitarian; a woman who used her fame to help others battle AIDS and she did so long before it was popular for stars to lend their status to any cause.   Receiving a special humanitarian award for her charity work  she declared, “I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame.”

Stunningly beautiful actress and winner of Oscars, yes, but, most importantly, she was a woman who tried many things and above all .. survived.   And let’s not forget that she was a Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother who leaves behind a family who will mourn her absence.

Rest in peace Elizabeth. You’ll be missed.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Determination, Fashion, Gratitude, Life, Men, News, Opinion, Romance, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is it really progress?

Angry Birdgs game photo from

I enjoy computing and find the vast array of information available to me via the internet amazing (and sometimes a little overwhelming). I’m also an adult.

So I was alarmed to read the following statistics from Internet Security Company AVG:

Small children today are more likely to navigate with a mouse, play a computer game and increasingly – operate a Smartphone than swim, tie their shoelaces or make their own breakfast. This is according to a new ‘Digital Diaries’ study from Internet Security Company AVG ( AVG Digital Diaries is a series of studies looking at how children’s interaction with technology has changed.  For more on the study visit: http://

 Kids are smart. We know that.  But here’s what this article makes me wonder: are today’s parents afraid to hear the words, “I’m bored?”

If my siblings and I dared utter the dreaded “I’m bored” we were told one of two things: 1) Really? Ok you can help with ____ (we lived on a farm, fill in the blanks with: bring the clothes in from the clothesline, clean the basement, weed the garden, pick the eggs, clean the stalls in barn, mow the lawn, water the flowers, you name it.)  The second alternative was 2) Find something to do or I’ll find it for you (see #1). And we did.  We rode bikes, climbed trees, stole raspberries out of the garden, collected rocks, and built forts, castles and stages. We went on hikes, produced talent shows and pitched tents.  All of those activities were far desired over spending any time doing chores.

What’s happened to singing, dancing, reading and “playing school?” What’s happened to puppet shows, make-believe, dress-up days and creating forts out of old sheets?  What’s happened to catching bugs, going up the slide the wrong way and hopscotch, kick-the-can, and freeze tag?

Please tell me that most parents are not too busy building imaginary Farms on Facebook to actually interact with their kids.  (“Baby drowns while Mom on Facebook:,0,2404118.story)   )

So what is it?   Have we become so paralyzed by fear that we no longer let our kids go outside to play?

My parents insisted that “children learn more by what we do than what we say.”  So if your kids see you playing on an iPhone or iPad it makes sense that they will want to also.  And that’s ok .. to a point.  I’m just hoping that little ones are also being exposed to educational “apps” because I’m concerned about a generation that can order take-out but not cook, can “race” for NASCAR but not change a tire and can master “Angry Birds” but not identify a real one looking at them from outside.

Technology? Love it. But it shouldn’t be a substitute for the real thing: play time.

 What are your thoughts on this?

Categories: Family, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Rants, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

My dog is an Accountant

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you think your dog can’t count, try putting 3 treats in your pocket and only giving him 2.

Not only can our dog count, we’re pretty sure he’s an accountant. He keeps careful inventory of the Scooby Snacks, the chipmunk and squirrel population and exactly how many bratwurst remain on the grill.  He’s impeccably mannered, and has his timing thoughtfully planned out: when we sit down to eat, he hops into his bed and crosses his paws.  Usually this is accompanied by a small sigh, or a “look away.”  He does this knowing full well that, at the end of the meal, he will get a bite of something mixed in with his kibbles.  All he wants is a little of what we’re having as he is, after all, a pack animal.  He’s learned by experience, and with 10+ years of it, this dog has our habits down pat.


Categories: Animals, Family, Friendship, Home, Humor, Personal, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A relationship worth cultivating

Eaton’s girls photo from

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.  And if you find someone to love the ‘you’ you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” ~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Ok, I know that a screenwriter penned those words for the character known as Miss Carrie Bradshaw but I still think they’re profound.

As a young girl, my mother did her best to stress the importance of accepting myself exactly as I was. She spoke lovingly of her late mother, my Nana, and Nana’s beautiful sisters, who were so polished and poised that they were often referred to as “Eaton’s girls.”  (Eaton’s was a national fashion department store in Canada, and Eaton’s girls were the prettiest of the pretty).   Mom made it clear to my sisters and I that we stood on the shoulders of industrious and intelligent women; women who were feminine, clever, practical and lovely. Just like me. Imagine the impact of such words on a developing and awkward young girl? Continue reading

Categories: Beauty, Fashion, Friendship, Home, Life Lessons, Mom, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

I need some Brain Lysol

Lounging in my jammies yesterday I found myself watching a TV show featuring celebrity news stories of the year.

I consider myself a bit of a news hound.  I read all the time. Books, blogs, newspapers, online news, you name it.

So it came as a surprise to me that some of the “news” stories of the year .. I hadn’t even heard of. 

Kim Kardashian?  Most googled person? Seriously?  Why?

Yes she’s pretty and curvaceous and I get that … but I can’t handle that whiny-constipated way of talking. 

I realized that, while watching, my brain was way ahead of me, it was already computing my list of people and products I don’t care about.

Then I realized I actually have a visceral reaction to each one.

So I do care.

I care that I am supposed to care about them.

Stop!  No more living rent-free in my head!

One of many stupid ED commercials. Image via


Here’s my list of people and products I am wiping clean from my brain’s memory drive:

  1. “Jersey Shore” and the band of lost misfits inhabiting it. It shames me that I even know who “Snooki” and “DJ Pauly D” are. Ugh.  Do stores carry Lysol for the brain cause I think I need a case of it.
  2. Kate Gosselin. With or without kids. Short hair or long. Don’t care.
  3. Oprah’s final season. Over it.
  4. Kim Kardashian and the rest of them. And what the hell happened to Bruce Jenner’s face?
  5. Erectile Dysfunction and “special moments.”  Um, the first two words don’t go with the last three unless you’re … Gene Simmons.
  6. Marie Osmond’s weight loss. Her hair is now bigger than her entire body and she oddly resembles the dolls she hawks on QVC. Weird.
  7. Tiger Woods had to spend Christmas without his kids.  Hmmm … perhaps when you cheat on your wife with 8 million women, a little time alone to wallow is what you should get.  Knob.
  8. Dancing with the washed up-0nce were-remotely famous-stars. Yawn.
  9. Lindsay who?
  10. Justin whats-his-face-with-the–really-stupid-hair.
  11. The Kimaro Body Shaper.   How do people get into it?  And why?
  12. Extreme anything. Extreme fitness. Extreme weight loss. Extreme-ly annoying. Whatever – shut up.

How about you?

What “news” story isn’t news? 

Which celebrity is famous for no reason at all, in your opinion?  I know I’m not alone here …

Categories: Attitude, Humor, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Random, Rants, Snarky | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Decision points

image from


“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.”- John Wayne


Ever have a decision before you that is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time?

On one hand .. security, predictability, what is known.

On the other … growth, creativity,  adventure.

What to do, what to do?

Do I swing my leg up over the back of my chestnut gelding and just go for it?

Or do I sit it out and play the cards I’m holding?  



I don’t make ’em lightly.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

That’s what I’M Sayin…

photo of Jane Russell from


“Don’t think of your womanly guile as MANipulation. 

Foxiness has a much better ring to it.”

~ Melissa Sovey

Categories: Confidence at any age, Family, Humor, Life, Men, Opinion, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

My wish list

photo from

The Hubbs has been asking for my wish list….He knows me better than anyone, but he still wants a little help with it. And that’s ok. He’s got some ideas but what he’s really asking for is help hitting a home run.  Smart man; this ain’t his first rodeo.  

The thing is? 

I don’t have anything on it. 

Terrible problem to have, isn’t it?

We’re healthy and employed.

Our home is warm & cozy. 

The kids are happy and well; the grand-babes are thriving and beautiful and growing. 

Even the dog has it pretty darn great. 

I have clothes that don’t fit, so clearly, we have more than enough food. 

My car runs just fine and – bonus – it’s paid off.  

I have a stack of books calling my name and I’ve set them aside for Christmas vacation.  Speaking of, I have vacation time and an employer that encourages me to take it.

It’s hard for me to come up with a list just for the sake of it

What I really want… I have: time off with pay,  opportunities for the two of us to slip out for the night and talk, share a look and a smile and a promise of what’s to come. Time to sleep in, to cook, to read with the winter sun streaming in on my shoulders, time to play and talk with the kids & grands, to visit friends and family. 

Unscheduled time to goof off and to accomplish absolutely .. nothing.

I’m not hard to buy for; I just don’t need anything.

My wish?  

My wish is that anyone reading this will see the promise of what is Christmas. 

When possible, forgive.  

When not, give yourself permission to step away.  

When you can help, do so.

Choose words carefully. 

Refrain from criticism. 

Pick up the phone and call an elderly relative.   

Do something nice for someone else just because you can.

Mix it up.  

Stop the schedule.   Slow down.

Look around.




Categories: Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Holidays, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Seasons, Self Discovery, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Blog at

Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, and Spiritual Being.


Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...



Better Days Blog

Learning from yesterday, living for today

Another Stir of the Spoon

Food, Art, Books, Birds and whatever...

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

Life Write Here

“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, and Spiritual Being.


Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

I also live on a farm

Just another weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...